Cruz Finds His Way by Anne van Gessel

Cruz Finds His Way by Anne van Gessel
Publisher: Balboa Press
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Cruz the Crow is about to embark on the single most important journey of his whole life: his solo-flight! But there is just one problem! All those letters and numbers that the other crows can read: well he can’t. How will he ever find his way? A charming and inspiring tale that tells kids it is ok to be different, and that we all have our strengths.

Everyone struggles with something, and those difficulties aren’t always obvious at first glance.

I liked Cruz as soon as I met him. Not only was he brave, he was persistent as well. It can be hard for anyone to keep trying at a skill they know they struggle with, and this is even more true for young crows or humans. He was a good example of how to acknowledge the frustration that happens in these circumstances without using it as an excuse to give up.

There were times when I wondered whether this picture book was meant to be read by or to children who have dyslexia or other conditions that make reading difficult. Some of the vocabulary words seemed like they’d be difficult for a child who was already struggling to read, but the storyline itself was geared to this age group. If the intended audience had been made clearer, I would have happily gone with a five-star rating.

My favorite part of it by far was the ending because of its realistic messages about living with dyslexia and dealing with hard topics in general. The message it sent about alternative ways to think about this disorder or anything else someone might find difficult to do with was perfect. All of us have things we wish we could be better at, and nobody excels at everything. The way the narrator used these facts to speak to the audience made this a book I’ll be recommending to anyone who is looking for reassurance.

Cruz Finds His Way was a wonderfully empathetic tale.

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